The United Nations (UN) is an inefficient and powerless body. Of its 191 member states, more than 20 are involved in wars which the UN is unable to end. The unilateral action of the US to attack Iraq without a UN mandate is the most recent evidence of the UN’s inability to handle world affairs. Influential leaders and opinion-formers in the world have now decided to reorganise and empower the UN. The organisation should not only be an observer but have control over a world peacekeeping force that will enable it to maintain peace by military means, if necessary.
In the international community there is a Quartet of world powers composed of the US, the UN, the EU and Russia, who regularly discuss world affairs by means of high-level representatives who are seeking solutions to global crises. According to information published on the US State Department’s website, the present focus of the Quartet’s discussions is on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict and the dividing of Israel’s territory to provide for a Palestinian state, and also on the peaceful transition to a civil government in Iraq. High priority is given to these two matters with a view to solving them in the near future.
The UN’s role in Iraq
American soldiers are under increasing pressure in Iraq, and the US wishes to withdraw them without losing credibility in the eyes of the world. Furthermore, the US does not intend handing over control of the explosive situation in that country to the anti-American Shiite or Sunni Muslims. Who can fill the power vacuum, should they leave? Only the UN. It appears that the internationalisation of Iraq is enforcing itself on all parties involved.
In April this year, the US started taking measures to ensure a more representative peacekeeping force in Iraq with a view to terminating the occupation of the coalition forces at the end of June 2004. The peacekeeping force should protect UN officials while arranging and monitoring a free and fair election in the country. The US has approached more than ten countries to participate in the extended peacekeeping force, among others, India, France and Pakistan, who all expressed themselves against the invasion of Iraq by the US and its allies. No Arab countries were so far approached to form part of the multinational force.
On 19th August 2003, the UN was forced to close its office and withdraw its delegation form Iraq when a bomb damaged the building where its staff were located, killing 22 people, including the UN’s special envoy, Sergio Vieira de Mello. The Secretary-general of the UN, Kofi Annan, plans to nominate a new envoy who might initially be stationed in a country outside Iraq.
Members of the Quartet are keenly aware of the fact that, without a military power of its own, the UN is a paper tiger that cannot, without external assistance, fulfil a meaningful peacekeeping role in Israel or Iraq. It is with a view to this problem that plans are made to restructure the UN into an organisations with executive powers, being allowed to tax member states to fund itself. These plans will involve large-scale expansions, also in the infrastructure of the UN’s head office.
Logistical limitations on the UN
The UN headquarters are situated in an area of only 4,5 acres in Manhattan, New York. The 23 000 employees of the organisation are working in crowded buildings. Space is severely restricted in their present location. Furthermore, the US is not very pleased with UN, and will probably be glad if they would move away from New York.
The relocation of the UN from their present premises will solve the problem of limited office space in the present complex, and also free the UN from the physical jurisdiction of the US – something which many of the member states do not like, particularly after America’s unilateral invasion of Iraq. But the big question is: Where to?
The fact that the Middle East is the focal point of events which influence the entire globe, and also supplies most the world’s crude oil, necessitates the continuous maintaining of political and economic stability in the region. This function can only be fulfilled in an internationally acceptable way by a specially empowered UN.
New pressure on the UN to expand
Various other crises in the rest of the world also emphasise the need for an international organisation with executive powers. According to certain intelligence reports, the destructive explosions in Madrid, Spain, were personally planned by Osama bin Laden and his top lieutenant, Ayman Zuwahiri. Their main purpose with the attack was to punish Spain for its share in the war against Iraq, and also to try and swing the Spanish elections in an anti-American, socialistic way, which will most likely lead to this country’s troop withdrawal from Iraq.
This serious terrorist attack put new pressure on the UN to play a more meaningful role in the maintaining of world peace. In the light of the multiple problems threatening humanity, the UN’s Secretary-general said in an address to the Council on Foreign Relations:
“The UN and the world have reached a fork in the road regarding what is perceived as a global threat and how such threats should be dealt with. UN member states used to share the understanding that countries were supposed to use force only in self-defence, or by a collective decision that it was necessary to use force in order to keep the peace. Now we have a different situation, where one group of states, led by the US, is saying that some threats – particularly terrorism and weapons of mass destruction – are so dangerous that they dare not wait until they are attacked, or until there is an agreement in the Security Council, before taking action.
“The other group believes that it is more dangerous for states to be using force at their own discretion, and that group does not consider terrorism and unconventional weapons to be the most dangerous threats in the world. Most people are much more directly threatened by such things as extreme poverty, hunger, disease, environmental disasters, or by low-teach violence, when order breaks down in their country or civil war breaks out.” The Secretary-general said he hopes that a panel created by him can help the UN agree on the main threats to humanity, and how to adapt and improve the world body’s policies and institutions to deal with the threats.
Increased pressure is also exerted on the UN’s World Health Organisation to address the problem of serious disease epidemics in the world. Apart from HIV/Aids, a number of new virus infections occurred in recent times. Among them is a type of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis which claims 300 000 lives per year. Rising global threats necessitate appropriate global measures to counter them.
Moving the UN to Iraq?
Various experts on world affairs are seriously considering the possibility of moving the UN’s Secretariat from New York to Baghdad in Iraq. Some of the arguments which are published on the internet in favour of such a move, are the following:
· In a time of great uncertainty and a lack of trust it will be a clear expression of the world’s commitment to accept and address challenges to the peace process in the Middle East.
· With such a move it will shift the hub of the international community to the Middle East, and be in a better position to build a bridge to the poor countries of Africa and Asia.
· The region between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers is a historic symbol of the international community, being humanity’s place of origin.
· It will expedite the reconstruction of Iraq and avert the possibility that conflict becomes a prolonged expression of the UN and the international community’s failures.
· It will favourably position the UN to restore the post-Saddam Iraq and in so doing establish itself as a stabilising focal point in the troubled Middle East.
· It will promote the acceptance of new ideologies by states in the Arab world.
· It will reduce the cost of extending the infrastructure of the UN headquarters.
· Various expensive buildings and complexes which were erected by Saddam Hussein in Baghdad could be used by the UN Secretariat. The lateral instead of vertical placing of offices, interspersed by gardens and enough parking spaces, will create a serene atmosphere.
· It will relocate the UN from a country which shows little respect for its role – and in fact has no need for it – to a region where it can play a much more significant role.
· The possibilities for participation in UN activities by countries in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe will be much greater and the cost of travelling much less.
· It will offer opportunities to multinational corporations to embark on prestige building projects in Iraq, thereby contributing positively to the country’s reconstruction.
· At a time when the reputation and role of the UN are questioned by many, a relocation of this nature will position the UN favourably to become a new symbol of hope to the developing world.
· Renewed terrorist threats against the US, England, Japan and other countries are inducing them to reconsider their role in Iraq and to transfer their responsibilities to the UN.
Is UN control over Iraq feasible?
Many people see the UN as incapable to maintain peace in Iraq and to establish the principles of the new world order there. In its present form the UN is indeed incapable for such a role – that being the reason for serious plans to enlarge and empower the organisation.
Iraq is torn apart by internal hatred between hostile Muslim factions as well as hatred against Israel, the US and all countries participating in the occupation forces. Should these forces all withdraw now, the Sunni and Shiite power struggle will spread further into neighbouring countries and render the entire region ungovernable. In that case, the UN’s role as peacekeeper will be further diminished while the world’s richest oilfields will fall into the hands of terrorists.
What is the solution? I am in contact by email with an American colleague, Prof. Serena Nanda of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Her office is close to the scene of the September 11 disaster. Since the beginning of the American attack on Iraq she was strongly against this war. However, given the present situation that prevails in that country, she sees no other way out than imposing international peacekeeping control over the country. She says that the US did not realise the true nature of religiously motivated violence and consequently wrongly assessed the situation in Iraq as well as other Muslim countries. She says:
“The US didn’t have a clue when they attacked Iraq what they were in for. You probably know that it is mainly Saudi Arabia that has been funding the medressas where the Islamic children learnt the hatred. We saw that in India fully ten years ago. If the Americans were not so dependent on Saudi oil, and the Bush’s and their cronies didn’t have such an investment in the oil business, perhaps the pressure should have been put on the Saudis long before this. The problem now is what to do with Iraq? Everyone I know feels we can’t just pull out and leave or it will even become a worse nightmare than it is now. The best thing we think is for the US to get the UN or NATO or some international body, probably with a large Arab/Muslim component, to go in and keep the peace so the American occupation can cease.”
If there is to be a large Muslim component in the peacekeeping force, it can only stand under the control of the UN. The problems in Iraq are rapidly increasing and there seems to be only two possible results of the present situation: either war or a temporary false peace.
The Internationalisation of Iraq
It is certainly not by chance that events in Israel and Iraq are considered to be of decisive importance in achieving world peace. For this reason, these two countries are posing the biggest challenge to the emerging new world order. The Bible clearly confirms that ancient Babylonia (the present Iraq) will play an evil role in the end-time by transforming the world in accordance with antichristian principles; the world trade will also be controlled from here (Rev. 18). That means only one thing – Iraq will be internationalised to become home to a new, enlarged UN with executive powers. That will be the home base of the Antichrist’s coming world government.
According to Revelation 17, the city of Babylon is also depicted as the home and place of origin of all the antichristian religions. The false religions indeed emerged from ancient Babylon from where they spread all over the world. There is clear Scriptural evidence that in the end-time they will return to their place of origin. According to Zechariah 5:5-11, a house will be built for a woman called wickedness in the land of Shinar, which is Babylonia. This woman is the same as “Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth” (Rev. 17:5). She is an ecumenical body representing all the false religions, and she will find her final home in the rebuilt Babylon. When that happens, the history of the false religions will have come full circle.
Various senior officials of the UN have expressed themselves in favour of establishing a formal Interreligious Council as part of the world body. At the next session of the UN’s General Assembly, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines will table a proposal for the formation of an Interreligious Council. If accepted, it will be institutionally part of the UN. She has recently discussed the issue with Mr. Bush to get American support for the proposal, and he showed great interest in it.
The United Religions Initiative that was formed when 1000 religious leaders met during the UN’s Millennium celebrations in August 2000, is an independent organisation that only acts as an advisory body to the Secretary-general of the UN. The new Interreligious Council will be an ambitious step to formally expand the quest for world peace and unity to the religious field.
There are also various other indications that Mystery Babylon is starting to take shape. In August 2003, a group of 120 politicians, academics and religious leaders met in London for a conference with the theme, “The world at a turning point.” They discussed the expediency of a future Interreligious Council at the UN. Dr. Clinton Bennett, a former secretary of the British Council of Churches’ committee for Interfaith Relations, said that the conference could be the most important single initiative for world peace in more than half a century.
The same spirit of interfaith collaboration to promote peace is also at work in Babylonia. The newly formed Interreligious Council for Peace had their first session in Iraq in August 2003. There are various prominent Sunni and Shiite Muslim representatives on this council as well as Christians and Sabaeans (star-worshippers).
There are now clear indications that the future Antichrist and false prophet will both be able to act within the structures of an enlarged and specially empowered UN. Should this organisation be moved to Iraq in the Middle East, as is expected by many, the new world order will be further implemented and controlled from here.
The importance of Jerusalem
Jerusalem, much more than Babylon, is the city of the future. The Messiah of Israel, who is also the Saviour and King of the whole world, will return to Jerusalem to establish His reign of peace here and to rule the world from this city (Zech. 14:4-5; Jer. 3:17; Is. 2:2-4; Acts. 15:16-17). Because the Antichrist is aware of these prophecies, and will strive to become world ruler in the place of Christ, he will obviously show great interest in Jerusalem. According to the Bible, he has various sinister plans with this city in an effort to thwart its Christian future.
One of his plans would be to befriend himself with the orthodox Jews by motivating them to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. He will do this in a very grandiose way by offering himself as their promised Messiah, and the majority of them will make the tragic mistake of accepting him (Jn. 5:43). The Antichrist knows that the building of the temple will be an expression of the continued rejection of Jesus as Messiah, and also of His once for all sacrifice on the cross. A further objective that the Antichrist will have with the building of the temple is that he intends to declare himself to be God in the Holy of holies, and also to place an image of himself there (2 Thes. 2:4; Rev. 13:15). Because of his self-deification and profaning of the temple, the Jews will break their covenant with him after 3½ years, but then have to flee from Jerusalem and Judea to the mountains (Mt. 24:15-22; Dan. 9:27). Most of them will die during this time (Zech. 13:8-9). The temple that the orthodox Jews wish to build will, therefore, lead to their virtual destruction.
The Antichrist’s second plan with Jerusalem would be to end Israel’s right of sole occupation of the city as their own capital. For this purpose, he will gain the support of the nations by instigating them with a spirit of hatred and resentment of the Jews. He will use the controversy about Jerusalem, as well as prophecies about the coming of Israel’s Messiah to the Mount of Olives, as an excuse to deploy a multinational force here to fight against the Messiah when He comes. This will be a very serious mistake made by him and the false prophet, as they will be captured and cast alive into the lake of fire (Rev. 19:19-21). The military forces deployed by them will also face utter destruction (Zech. 14:12).
The Quartet of world powers is clearly busy working into the hands of the coming Antichrist by transforming and empowering the UN, building up Iraq as an international power-base, and dividing Israel’s God-given land and capital for political gain.
Dangers of these reforms
The Bible seriously warns us against reforms of this nature as they will pave the way for the Antichrist and be severely judged by God. As for the planned expansion and empowerment of the UN, it should be clearly understood that it will abrogate the God-given sovereignty of nations by subjecting them to the authority of a world government. The coming world government will, like all the previous world empires, function in close association with a false world religion. In Genesis 11 we read about the first world empire with Babylon, in the present Iraq, as its capital. Humanity despised God and exalted themselves. As in the later Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadnezzar, all the subjects were forced to practise a false world religion. After the fall of the restored Babylonian Empire it was succeeded by the equally deceived Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman empires. According to Revelation 17 and 18, the final world empire will again be a Babylonian conspiracy against the kingdom of God and the freedom of the nations.
The present campaign of the Quartet of world powers to plan and implement a new world order is based upon all the antichristian principles of the previous world empires. For this reason, it lays the foundation for the revival of the Babylonian Empire that was controlled by notorious dictators such as the utterly wicked Nimrod, Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar. Empires of this nature are intrinsically evil and antichristian because of their close association with the false religions of fallen mankind. Because of the unique position of evangelical Christianity it cannot be unequally yoked together with the non-Christian religions, as explained in John 14:6 and 2 Corinthians 6:14-17. World leaders who support this process of internationalisation, are working against Jesus Christ and in favour of the Antichrist as they have to adopt a multireligious approach in order to be accepted by the international community.
The judgements of God have been pronounced against the Babylonian new world order which is so feverishly pursued at present. When the emerging new world order is fully established, Babel will have dominion over the nations and the riches of the world, and be home to the false religions as well as wicked practices of any imaginable kind. God’s people have no common cause with the Babylonian conspiracy, and are commanded to stay clear of Babel and its evil systems: “Come out of her, My people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities… Therefore her plagues will come in one day – death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord who judges her” (Rev. 18:4-5,8). Babylon’s final fall is very sure because it is the origin and symbol of all false religions and evil, oppressive systems of government that characterised thousands of years of human history.
The judgements of God are also upon the nations who dispersed Israel from their land and now, in the end-time, divide the restored Israel’s land. Eventually, they will participate in the war against Jerusalem in an attempt to destroy Israel and to fight against their coming Messiah. For these reasons, God will judge them. He says: “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgement with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; they have also divided up My land” (Joel 3:1-2).
It will indeed be a bad day for the enemies of Israel when they try to fight the One who has all authority in heaven and on earth. The devil, the Antichrist and the false prophet will instigate the nations to muster all their forces against the coming Messiah and His heavenly army (Rev. 19:19), because they would know that His coming to the Mount of Olives will bring about the end of their new world order and Babylonian world empire (Rev. 16:13-16). After their destruction, Christ will reign as King of kings from the restored throne of David in Jerusalem (Acts 15:16-17).
Do not, for the sake of temporary political gain, support the new world order by accepting a multireligious approach, subverting the sovereignty of the nations by eradicating the boundaries between them, and oppressing Israel by forcing them tot divide their land and capital city among themselves and the Palestinians. Also, do not deny the deity of the Lord Jesus and His unique position as the only Saviour of a lost world, or degrade the Christian faith by putting it on an equal level with the non-Christian religions. The enemies of Jesus Christ will pay with their lives for their apostasy of rebelling against God. The biggest rebellion before the second coming of Christ will be the Babylonian new world order in association with a false religious system.